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Study: Police shootings rose in Missouri after state relaxed concealed carry restrictions

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A man fires a handgun at an Imperial shooting range in this 2008 file image. Photo by Erik M. Lunsford,

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police shootings increased in Missouri after the state loosened restrictions on carrying concealed firearms, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found in a new study.

Ten states including Missouri saw a 12.9% increase in police shootings from 2014 to 2020 after passing legislation allowing individuals to carry concealed firearms without a permit, according to the study from the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Researchers examined the impact of removing the permit requirement on police shootings by comparing the 10 states that changed their laws with 26 states that still required permits.

“The trend of more states allowing civilians to carry concealed guns without a permit may be influencing the perceived threat of danger faced by law enforcement,” said Mitchell Doucette, assistant scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and the study’s lead author.

“This could contribute to higher rates of fatal and nonfatal officer-involved shootings.”

Four of the 10 states in the study — Missouri, Idaho, Mississippi and West Virginia — had significantly higher average rates of police shootings after dropping permit-to-carry laws. Missouri, which did away with the permit requirement in 2016, had the highest number of additional victims at 12.7 every six months.

Meanwhile, the police shooting rate in the six other states did not significantly change, researchers found.

One limitation the authors acknowledged is that police shootings are undercounted in the U.S. because data on those incidents isn’t systematically collected.

For this study, researchers used data from the Gun Violence Archive, a database that collects daily information on shootings from news reports, law enforcement and government agencies.

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The study is available here at the Journal of Urban Health website.

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